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Nottingham Primary Academy



At Nottingham Academy Primary, our intent is to provide an inspirational English curriculum for our children that allows them to develop into confident and creative writers. 

We understand that developing strong literacy skills in primary school plays a key role in the ability of children to successfully navigate the later years of their school life, and the years beyond education. 

At Nottingham Academy, it is our aim to do this by immersing children in an engaging curriculum that is tailored to their needs, responsive to the different speeds at which children learn and sensitive to the challenges that all children face on their learning journey. 

Having a well-planned, carefully structured progression of skills that runs from the beginning of EYFS to the end of year 6 allows us to have high expectations of all children whilst ensuring that skills and knowledge are taught, practised and embedded throughout our children’s learning journey.

At the heart of this is the intention of all staff here at Nottingham Academy to instil a love of reading, writing and discussion in our children that will have a positive impact on their development during their time here, and a lasting impact on their lives. 


From September 2022, we adopted The Write Stuff as a whole school approach to teaching writing. English lessons are taught in units that are planned around high-quality, challenging texts. The children are immersed in this engaging narrative (or non-fiction text), over several weeks, exploring characters, settings, storylines and themes. The writing skills developed in these lessons are carefully selected so that they form part of a whole-school skills progression. This allows children to master age-appropriate skills and enables the teachers to provide timely challenge or support where it is needed. 

We believe that children’s learning is enhanced when they are writing for a purpose. Because of this, we structure our units in a way that allows teachers and their classes to focus on one key writing purpose at a time – writing to entertain, persuade or inform. This approach means that children spend several weeks gaining a thorough understanding of how to write for a specific purpose and what skills to employ, whether this is writing a story, letter, diary, or leaflet, creating a fact file or recounting an event. 

Throughout school, we use the ‘Fantastics, Boombastics and Grammarsaurus  lenses’, part of ‘The Write stuff’ approach to help focus ideas and thoughts around elements of narratives and non-narratives, including, action, speech, feelings and noticing (observation) as well as using them as hooks to help up-level the vocabulary we learn and develop attached to each of those areas. 


By immersing children in high quality texts and focusing on skills and the enjoyment of English, children develop an enthusiasm for the subject. They enjoy talking about their favourite books, discussing the stories they’re writing, and sharing their achievements with other children. 

Children’s books show that they continually adopt new writing skills as they progress through school while drawing inspiration from the books they read in class. Children’s writing is assessed at the start of the year and at the end of each term. This formal assessment complements the day-to-day assessment that takes place in classrooms and in books. 

Children are also encouraged to assess their own work. Evaluating their own progress often feeds their eagerness to reach new targets and enables children to talk freely and enthusiastically about their next steps. Editing days, which allow children to make changes needed to improve their writing are specifically planned into each unit. 



At Nottingham Academy Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. Our aim is to ensure that every single child becomes literate and progresses in all areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

With regard to spelling, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand the nuances of meaning, and how to develop their understanding of and ability to spell a wide range of words. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. 

Our approach to spelling: 

  • Provides the children with spelling strategies that they can apply outside of school and take into the wider world, thus supporting our ambition to create life-long learners. 

  • Develops the children’s understanding of word meaning to unlock wider comprehension. 

  • Helps children to understand how words evolve and how the English language has changed due to the inclusion of Latin, Greek and Anglo-Saxon words. 

  • Allows children to make links between prior knowledge and builds on the foundations of phonics laid down in the Early Years. 

  • Provides the children with the opportunity to experiment and build words, as well as expand their vocabulary bank. 


At Nottingham Academy Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. The importance of effective spelling is vital in our English Curriculum. Most people read words more accurately than they spell them. The younger the pupils are, the truer this is. 

We start teaching phonics in Nursery with Foundation for Phonics and begin daily Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised lessons in Reception and Year 1, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, we aim for all our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar and decodable words as they read and spell. At Nottingham Academy Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

In Year 2, the children have daily Little Wandle sessions and spend five weeks reviewing  Phase 5 phonics. These five weeks were formerly known as ‘The Bridge.’ During these sessions, the children are taught to ‘think about spelling’ and complete the alphabetic code and learn the underpinning concepts of spelling. Once this learning is secure, children move onto spelling units, which follow a similar structure to Little Wandle, supporting children to make links to their phonic learning and helping them to accurately spell common exception words. Little Wandle spelling teaches children to consider etymology, morphology and grammar when spelling new words. 

From Year 3 onwards, we continue to build on the children’s understanding of the etymology and introduce them to the morphology of words (how words are structured and related to one another by a combination of form, grammar and meaning). This approach allows us to build on the foundations that have already been put in place in Key Stage 1 and allows for a more seamless transition between spelling strategies when moving between key stages. Children are supported in their understanding of basic morphological principles, which they can apply to the spellings of over half a million words. Where words are irregular, and do not follow the rules, we continue to use etymology (the stories behind the spelling of certain words) and graphic strategies to help children to learn these spellings. Spelling lessons take place 3 times-a-week and allow the children to immerse themselves into their new spelling prefix, suffix or root word, thus allowing them to form links between words and prior learning.  

Each week, during Morphological Monday, the children are introduced to a new root word, or prefix/ suffix. We discuss what these words mean and how adding them to specific words changes the meaning. On Word Wednesday, the children form new words based on the root word, or prefix/ suffix they were introduced to earlier in the week. This lesson allows the children to develop their vocabulary base and identify any patterns within the word group they are learning about. On the last day, the children delve deeper into the spelling and use a wide range of strategies to help them understand the meaning of the words. 


Character curriculum links to English 

Our character curriculum is explicit and implicit and underpins all educational activities at Nottingham Academy. 

In our English lessons children are encouraged to be self-motivated, have curiosity, and show persistence in the face of challenge. 

At Nottingham Academy Primary, we support our Literacy character curriculum further by celebrating success in assemblies, developing oracy further with Golden Bear or other characters going home, texts selected to support and promote diversity and using pupil voice to help shape our developing curriculums. Within EYFS, proud clouds are used to celebrate children’s literacy achievements at home and throughout the rest of the school a combination of rewards like incentives, including the reading incentive programme, stickers, certificates and other prizes are used to both celebrate and motivate. We have trained ELSA, emotional Literacy, staff who work with children around such areas as self-esteem and confidence, which in turn gives them a greater opportunity of success. 



At Nottingham Academy, we believe in the importance of all children being able to write with ease, speed and legibility to support their learning across the curriculum. Handwriting is a movement skill which, like reading and spelling, affects levels of written communication. Therefore, we ensure that this is taught directly by explicit modelling, explanation and opportunities to practice in all year groups across school, in an age-appropriate way and by following the school's handwriting policy. Handwriting sessions aim for all children to write with fluency, legibility and consistency, which will impact positively on their ability to write with speed and stamina across all areas of the curriculum.  



In the EYFS, children take part in activities that develop fine and gross motor skills. They begin with gross motor skills which later inform fine motor skills. These might include skills like putting on your coat, catching a ball, climbing, riding a scooter or dancing with ribbons. Pre-writing activities are available daily, which later develop into early pencil skills. These might include threading, using tools such as scissors, tweezers, rolling pins and paintbrushes. Children who need additional support to develop fine motor skills will receive regular ‘dough disco’ interventions which focus on developing the strength in hand muscles through various actions with dough.  

Children in EYFS also take part in regular handwriting sessions throughout the week when children will be taught and given time to practice letter formation. This will be practised further through access to a variety of mark-making media in continuous provision.  


Our school policy follows the Handwriting Progression, as set out in the National Curriculum. 

Year One 

Through regular taught handwriting sessions and through regular opportunities to practice in the provision provided, children are taught to:  

  • Sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly.   

  • Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place.  

  • Form capital letters  

  • Form digits 0-9  

  • Understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways).  

Year Two  

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.  

  • Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined.  

  • Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters  

  • Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters. 

  • Once our children are secure in Phase 5 phonics, they will begin to use a cursive style and will be taught how and where to join letters in their handwriting sessions.  

Years Three and Four  

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined.  

  • Increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting [for example, by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch]. 

Years five and Six 

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed by choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether to join specific letters  

  • Choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task.  

Opportunity and entitlement linked to English 

These activities support all aspects of our learning as we ensure that we try to make our teaching and learning as relevant and real as possible. This may include trips out of school based around texts and themes, theatre visits, library visits, community involvement through either letter writing, planning activities or visiting our local area to enable us to develop our wider understanding and vocabulary giving context to our learning. 

This supports our academic enrichment, stimulates intellectual curiosity and therefore enhances academic development and outcomes.